The Heritage Foundation will hold a Congressional policy briefing, Energy Subsidies Not Winning, featuring Heritage's Nick Loris and Jack Spencer and CEI's Myron Ebell, this Wednesday, May 18, noon to 1 PM, Room B-338 in the Rayburn House Office Building. Contact Landon.Zinda@heritage.org to RSVP.
In the News
Former Alarmist Scientist Now Says Global Warming Based on Flawed Science
Bruce McQuain, Hot Air, 12 May 2011
UN Appoints Accomplished Wealth Distributor To Lead Green Jobs Initiative
Chris Horner, Daily Caller, 11 May 2011
Obama's Anti-Energy Policies Are Bankrupting America
Rob Bluey, The Foundry, 5 May 2011
News You Can Use
Science: America Cooled 1980-2008
Al Gore, Greenpeace, and the consensus of scientists tell us that global warming endangers agriculture and global food security. A study published last week in Science magazine finds global warming has taken significant bites out of potential global corn and wheat production since 1980. The study also finds, however, that climate change has not adversely affected U.S. corn and wheat production. How so - because of Yankee ingenuity? Not according to the study. The explanation, rather, is that America has been a notable exception to climate change. The USA experienced a slight cooling during the study period (1980-2008).
This is bizarre. Here we have an alarmist study that finds a lack of significant climate trends in the USA for the past 30 years. If true, that makes hash out of all those dire pronouncements by Gore and others that global warming is already contributing to hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms, forest fires, floods, etc. in the USA. Are the study's authors aware of this implication? Are the editors of Science? Apparently not.
Inside the Beltway
House Passes Offshore Drilling Bills
The House of Representatives this week and last passed three bills to force the Obama Administration to increase offshore oil and gas production. H. R. 1229 passed by a vote of 263 to 163, with 28 Democrats voting Yes. H. R. 1230 passed last week by 266 to 149, with 33 Democrats in favor. And H. R. 1231 passed the House 243 to 179, with the support of 21 Democrats.
Naturally, the White House opposes all three bills. President Obama and his top energy and environmental officials support policies to raise gasoline and electricity prices for consumers.
Next week, the Senate may vote on a bill being pushed by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to take away federal subsidies for the oil industry. Nick Loris and Curtis Dubay of the Heritage Foundation sort out what is and is not a subsidy in the Senate bill here. Suffice it to say, the big ticket items are not subsidies to the oil and gas industry, but standard business deductions. David Kreutzer, also of the Heritage Foundation, compares the subsidies that the oil industry gets to the immensely larger subsidies that the wind power industry gets. No one claims that the Senate bill will lower gas prices.
Getting off the Boonedoggle Bandwagon
The first sign appeared this week that the burgeoning bandwagon in the House of Representatives to pass what I have called the T. Boone Pickens Earmark Bill is slowing down. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) removed his name as a co-sponsor of H. R. 1380, the NAT GAS Act (which stands for New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions). Pearce deserves extra credit for doing this because the biggest industry in his southern New Mexico district is oil and natural gas production.
T. Boone Pickens wrote a letter published in the Wall Street Journal on 11th May in response to a devastating column by Holman Jenkins in the 7th May Journal. Pickens writes that, Since July 2008 I have spent more than $80 million of my own money to pass the Pickens Plan. This $80 million figure does not include the many millions of dollars Pickens has contributed to Republican candidates and the Republican Party over the decades. If enacted, the bill would probably increase the value of Pickens's natural gas holdings by several billion dollars. So $80 million could turn out to be a very good investment.
The opponents of H. R. 1380, which include Freedom Action, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for Prosperity (all members of the Cooler Heads Coalition), have probably spent in the neighborhood of $800 to defeat the Pickens-Your-Pocket Plan. That expenditure could save American taxpayers close to $10 billion in federal subsidies to the natural gas and natural gas vehicle manufacturing industries over the next five years. That's even better value for money.
Across the States
New Hampshire Senate Republicans Flinch
New Hampshire Senate Republicans have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on energy rationing policy. Two months ago, the State House of Representatives passed HB 519, legislation that would withdraw New Hampshire from a regional energy-rationing scheme known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), by a 246 to 104 vote. At the time, it was widely thought that the Senate would quickly follow suit, as Republicans control the upper chamber. Governor John Lynch (D) promised to veto the bill, but Republicans hold a veto-proof majority in both chambers of the legislature.
Then the environmentalist lobby mobilized and frightened many members of the Senate. The bill was delayed. Last week, the Senate Natural Resources Committee voted against HB 519 companion legislation. This week, the full Senate, where Republicans enjoy a 2 to 1 majority, voted to remain in the RGGI.
Around the World
Quebec, long an economic basket case kept afloat by Canada's federal government, has decided to open up its northern interior to resource development. Quebec Premier Jean Charest announced on Monday an ambitious 25-year \223Plan Nord\224 to build highways, airports, and other infrastructure so that the area can be developed.
According to Montreal's Gazette, \223Investments in energy development, mining, forestry, transportation, and tourism in the 1.2-million-square-kilometre region - twice the size of France - will create 20,000 jobs a year, generating $162 billion in growth and tax revenues of $14 billion.\224 Large parts of northern Quebec are heavily forested, and there are major deposits of iron, nickel, gold, platinum, cobalt, zinc, vanadium, and rare earths.
The Obama Administration should follow Quebec's good example. The Department of the Interior and the U. S. Forest Service (an agency of the U. S. Department of Agriculture) control nearly 30% of the land in the United States, most of it in the West and Alaska, plus the Outer Continental Shelf. Federal lands and offshore areas contain colossal reserves of energy and minerals plus the most productive forests in the world. But the Obama Administration is locking up more and more federal lands and offshore areas in order to prevent oil and gas production, hardrock mining, and timber production. And they're trying to block coal mining in Appalachia by inventing new pollutants to be regulated.
The semi-socialist government of Quebec gets it; the House of Representatives gets it; but unfortunately President Obama and his administration do not get it. They insist on living in a fantasy land where federal spending rather than natural resource production creates economic activity.